tv Martin Bashir MSNBC March 27, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
justice alito asked one lawyer how he can prove gay marriage is a good thing when it's a newer invention than cell phones. just like the case against michael hardwick, that question is too narrow. gay marriage is new, but liberty and equality are very old. and long overdue. that does it for "the cycle." karen finny is in the chair for martin today. >> thanks, guys. good afternoon. it's wednesday, march 27th. bear aboehner and the boys say america has a spending problem. then they spend millions to protect something americans don't even want. >> historic arguments are sparking some intense debate. >> it did seem like there are at least five votes to strike it down. >> the case today is about edith windsor. >> it's about being left out from the rest of the country. >> i know the spirit of my late spouse is right here watching and listening. >> i think it's one of the fastest changing trends we've seen on a social matter in
decades. >> marriage is between one man and one woman. >> it's not just what you say. it's how we say it. >> i don't believe we need to act like, you know, old testament -- >> what does that mean? >> i think you know it when you see it. >> remember, when you tell a gay person that their love is too unnatural for society to recognize, smile. ahmed contentious debate and a major shift in public opinion, we're on day two of oral arguments at the supreme court over the fate of same-sex marriage. after hearing a challenge on tuesday to california's ban on same-sex marriage, today the justices moved to the question of the defense of marriage act, known as doma. at issue before the court, based on a 1996 law creating a federal definition of marriage, can the federal government deny benefits
to same-sex couples in states where their marriages are legal? under doma same-sex couples from denied more than 1,100 federal benefits that would be granted to straight couples. now, the plaintiff, 83-year-old edie windsor, got a bill for more than a quarter of a million dollars in inheritance taxes because doma presented the irs from recognizing her marriage to her wife, thea spire. taxes she would not have had to pay if thea had been a man. coling out of the court today she said that's not the only reason she's fighting for equality. >> it's a magic word for anybody who doesn't understand why we want it and why we need it. okay. it is magic. >> the shifting politics on the issue of same-sex marriage are evident in the growing list of prominent republicans and democrats supporting the repeal of doma and the unusual lineup of those arguing the case. in a rare move, the obama administration declined to defend the federal law in court.
instead siding with those challenging doma. now, instead, house republicans are the ones who stepped in to defend the law at a $3 million price tag to taxpayers. today their attorney faced some serious skepticism from justices about the mer its of the law, starting with a question of morality. >> dewe really think that congress was doing this for uniformity reasons? or do we think that congress's judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus and so forth? >> justices further questioned the right of the federal government to create categories of marriage. >> what gives the federal government the right to be concerned at all at what the definition of marriage is? how do you get the federal government to have the right to create categories of that type? >> you're saying no. there are two kinds of marriages. the full marriage and then the
sort of skim milk marriage. >> arguing against doma, the solicitor general used another "d" word to argue for its demise. >> it's time for the court to recognize that this discrimination, excluding lawfully married gay and lesbian couples from federal benefits, cannot be reconciled with our fundamental commitment to equal treatment under law. >> verrilli said it's discrimination in its most basic aspect. but will the justices see it the same way? i want to bring in msnbc's thomas roberts with us from the steps of the supreme court. thomas, great to see you. >> reporter: hi, karen. >> also with us from washington, george washington university law professor jon thi turly. thanks for joining us. thomas, i want to start with you. you were there at the court. seems like the tone from folks coming out a little bit different than yesterday. feeling a little bit more optimistic today than maybe we heard yesterday. what's your take? >> reporter: well, it's a lot
quieter. i wasn't here yesterday. but i was asking around today the difference between the two types of crowds. yesterday was a little more crowded and a little more contentious to the people i had a chance to talk to. it is very tame today. obviously it's hours later. things have died down. a lot more people are still just walking by taking pictures now. more of the media than anything else. but as we -- as we learned from inside today, karen, the fact that the justices seem very concerned with state rights. and with yesterday being the concern of overstepping california's state rights and getting involved with proposition 8, to now doma, and the fact that doma itself, it goes ahead and it limits what states can do when we talk about the nine different states and the district of columbia that now afford marriage equality rights to those choosing to get married. the federal government as you pointed out with your open, over 1,100 different federal rights are excluded from those people that have gotten married legally in those areas.
so that's the big concern now. so the same thing as we saw yesterday, with justice kennedy, a lot of people paying attention to him. his words today specifically saying doma is a blunt instrument because it deprives same-sex couples of over 1,100 federal laws. covers almost every facet of life. and the real risk of coming into conflict with the essence of state power. again, here, karen, always going back to state power and wanting to make sure these states have the say and the control of their laws. >> right. jonathan, defending doma, just to this point about the states, paul clement tried to argue this on the merits of states' rights. justice kennedy said, we're helping states do what we want them to do. what does that tell you? as thomas pointed out, obviously a lot of watching what it is that justice kennedy says. >> first of all, i think it plays into both days of argument. you saw a number of justices that seem to be having a bit of sticker shock in terms of recognizing a principle of true equal protection for same-sex
couples and for homosexuals and lesbians generally. many of us had hoped that they would do that. it seems less likely. what they're talking about today with states' rights is sort of an off ramp where they don't have to go all the way down the road. they would not recognize any new principle of equal protection for homosexuals, but they would be saying this is really a state right question. that congress really should not be in the business of defining or recognizing marriage. which belongs to the state. the result would be, they're essentially answering a different question. doma would go down. it would be struck down. but not for the reason many people had hoped. that recognition of true equal treatment. you are looking at -- at a court, both yesterday and today, of justices sort of driving with their turning signal on, saying they really want to get off this highway. some of them were insulting like justice alito, saying this is a
new issue when it's really not. but even kennedy seemed reluctant to fully embrace an idea of heightened scrutiny for homosexuals generally. >> you know, jonathan, just staying on that for a moment, what do you attribute this reluctance to? and can you talk a little bit the states' rights issues, as thomas was also pointing out, you've got a states' rights issue today and really a states' rights issue yesterday. and the two almost seem to be sort of colliding with one another. >> well, you know, some of these justices like roberts seemed almost peeved to be pushed into this question. he seemed almost irritated that people were trying to get them to answer the more significant question of equal rights. and this is an out. i think this has more promise than yesterday. remember, they also have another off ramp on standing. that is, they could simply say that house members don't have standing to be before the court and ask for relief.
you know, i represented both democratic and republican members challenging the libyan war. and we were dismissed on standing. because members generally don't have that ability to ask for relief. so i think what's difficult i think for many is the more magnificent question, the question many had hoped would be answered might not be answered. but we may still see doma struck down. >> thomas, the fact that the obama administration declined to defend doma and then you had president clinton who had signed the law originally coming out against it and so many republicans and democrats, prominent, as we've talked about, coming out, this tells us how much this issue has really shifted across the country, doesn't it? >> i think it does. just to display that, to the professor's point, though, when it comes to standing about the court case itself, it was very interesting. a friend of the court today from harvard explained who has the
proper standing to even bring doma. in this instance as we've been reporting and talking about for a long time, karen, the fact that the president told eric holder not to go ahead to enforce doma or prosecute any doma specific cases. and then over the summer of last year, coming out in a full throated endorsement for marriage equality before his re-election. it would be quite a contradiction if the president had come out for marriage equality but was having his department of justice go after and criminalize doma-style cases and knowing full well it was headed to the supreme court anyway. >> you know, jonathan, it's interesting. again, this idea that the justices as you pointed out seem to be trying to find these various off ramps, you know, sort of not have to decide or not make a sweeping decision, the language we heard yesterday. yet this is an issue that has overwhelming public support. it is an issue that has garnered a lot of public attention. it just strikes me as, i don't know, i'll just say it, a little
bit of a lack of courage. though i thought some of the women members had some of the best questions to be honest. made some of the best points. we need the supreme court to have a little courage here, right, and take on -- this is an important issue. for them to just sort of look for the off ramp, i guess it feels like they're not doing their job. >> well, i think that's a reasonable, you know, sentiment. that a lot of people areto remen the best of days, this is an incrementalist institution. they tend to want to stay behind the public. to let the public decide as many questions as possible. because they feel as an institution they shouldn't be deciding important social questions. now, there's certainly a rationale for that. what we're talking about here are millions of people who have been disenfranchised. who are being discriminated against. we're talking about the oldest struggle in the rule of law. the struggle for true equality. i think that that's weighing heavily on these justices.
particularly kennedy. i also think you saw in some of roberts' biting comments. i think it's actually weighing heavy on him, too. i don't think he wants to be one of the last justices to stand against equality. i think that's one of the reasons you see some tension there. but we did not see the five justices that we need that would say, all right. we're ready to treat sexual orientation like race or gender. that may have to come for another day and another case. >> stay tuned. we will keep following this case. thanks so much, thomas roberts and jonathan turley. >> thank you. >> absolutely. thank you. next, north dakota has oil, it has gas, it has jobs. and what it needs is women. but why are they not attracting them? stay with us. >> i'm only 41, by the way. >> yeah. he's only 41. he's a stuffy young man. and while the autopsy here says that republicans need to do a better job of reaching out to black people, brown people, and
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keeping taxes low, keeping business taxes low, having a sensible regulatory environment and, you know, really just having a very responsive state government. >> that was north dakota governor sharing his recipe for economic success. north dakota actually has seen significant economic growth over the last few years. thanks to a booming energy industry north dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country, 3.3%. the energy boom has brought north dakota more jobs, more wealth and more development. but the one thing it hasn't brought is more women. a recent photo essay "new york
times" in the sunday magazine made the point painfully clear. in one picture, you can see plenty of guys milling around a singles bar on the weekend. but you sure won't and don't see plenty of women. in fact, the male to female ratio at that bar was reported to be 5 to 1. yet north dakota just passed and the governor just signed one of the worst, if not the worst, bills restricting women's access to health care services in american history. the bill would force the red river women's clinic, which is the only facility in north dakota that provides women access to the legal procedure of abortion, in addition to other health services, to close its doors. in fact, the legislation is so extreme, a number of republican state legislators have broken ranks to oppose the law over concerns of the threats posed to women's health. but is there a larger strategy at play? we're joined now be krystal ball, co-host of "the cycle" on msnbc and katelyn borgman, law
professor at the university of new york. the thing that always just galls me in these case, we're talking about a legal procedure. abortion is a legal procedure. women have a right to have a level of access to a legal procedure. that seems to get lost in the conversation. >> that's absolutely right. with the bills you're talking about there's an effort to de facto overturn rov versus wade whether it's through the trap legislation which we see in north dakota which essentially puts restrictions, totally unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers to, in essence, force them to close which we've seen in states like virginia. we've really seen across the country. to banning abortions after six weeks along. so many women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks along. so this is an attempt to de facto overturn roe v. wade, really push the limits of what
states can do, what they're permitted to do under the law. >> in the reading i did, at six weeks you have to have a, guess what, vaginal ultrasound to know if you're pregnant. professor, let's talk about the broader implications as krystal was alluding to. there seems to be some disagreement even on the conservative side as to whether or not this case should be pursued. some say it's going to be struck down as unconstitutional because roe versus wade says 24 weeks and this bill says 6 weeks. others say that's exactly the point. we want to get to the supreme court. >> i think that it clearly violates roe v. wade. it's going to be struck down in federal court. the question is whether or not the supreme court would want to take this case. i actually think that it's not likely that the supreme court will take it. i don't think justice kennedy, who is the court's central swing vote on abortion, is going to want to take this case because it's so clearly would overturn roe. clearly as krystal said, the
agenda is to challenge roe versus wade directly. it's pushed by a wing of the anti-abortion movement tired of waiting and chipping away. the trap laws are chipping away without really admitting the ultimate goal is to ban all abortion. this puts it out on the table. >> to the point of the chipping away point, it's not just north dakota. these laws have been showing up in arkansas. mississippi, obviously, the fetal heart bill was -- heartbeat bill was defeated. but these states, i mean, these lel legislatures, we've seen them come back this next legislative session and try again and again and again to chip away at women's rights. you say you don't think it'll get to the supreme court. isn't -- the strategy obviously is one of these is going to make its way to the supreme court. >> absolutely. the hope is to get to the supreme court. they think that, you know, perhaps they have a shot at beginning the court to overturn roe. i think it's questionable. obviously the national right to life committee, which represents sort of the mainstream
anti-abortion rights movement, is also worried. i think they also don't -- aren't sure the supreme court would take it. or if it did, that it would just reaffirm the right to abortion. >> so are they suggesting that if they don't take it, it means they are going to have to keep trying to get another case? what's their legal concern? >> i think their legal concern is that either the supreme court might take it and reaffirm roe versus wade which justice kennedy might do as he did in planned parenthood versus casey in 1992, or that the supreme court won't take it and then you'll just have lower court federal prez dense saying these laws are unconstitutional. so they think that by pursuing this incrementalist strategy of chipping away slowly at the right, that they're going to change hearts and minds. but, in fact, in 40 years the public opinion polls haven't really changed. >> no. in fact, as we saw during the election, krystal, we talked about this a lot. one of the top voting issues for women, particularly in battleground states, was access to abortion. over jobs, actually, at a time of sort of economic distress. you know, our friends the
republicans, they say they want to reach out to women. you know, they say they're trying to be a big tent party. i cannot imagine that this is a case they really want to have to fight on a national federal level. this means -- this is -- this is not a war against women opening, i can't imagine what is. what is this republican strategy on this? >> i totally agree. i mean, it's one thing for, you know, the rnc to put out their glossy autopsy report or whatever. it's another for you to actually get at what are the states, what are you legislators actually doing? i think you're exactly right. this fight played out on a national stage is a disaster for republicans. and for the longest time, they really had the upper hand on the conversation over a woman's right to choose. they successfully painted democrats as being extreme and out of the mainstream on this issue. when in reality they were working behind the scenes to quietly chip away at the rights. and people didn't notice that until about last year.
suddenly the american public is very aware of what is going on and it has become a flash point. and because of extreme measures like these that essentially do overturn roe v. wade, make it impossible for a woman in north dakota, for example, to have an abortion legally, because of those extreme measures they are now the ones who are on the defensive, who are losing on this issue and women are running away from them in droves. >> well, no doubt there will be a lot more given what's happening in the states. thanks to krystal ball and professor caitlin borgmann. coming up, looking out for america's bravest men and women. stay with us. bernie speaks. madoff, the banks knew all about his scheme. a fox business exclusive straight from his jail cell. >> they were in cahoots. >> i don't know what cahoots means. >> i'll explain shortly. [ man ] i got this citi thankyou card and started earning loads of points. we'll leave that there.
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we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. from belly dancing and the war on easter to those stuffy old republican men. are are today's top lines. survey says? >> hope you guys caught that. >> you can't belly dance if you don't have a belly button. >> michelle obama and mike tyson. >> instead of an e roll, we're going to have an academic egg roll. >> the bunny comes from paganism or is a symbol of fertility. >> believe me, nobody's going to get naked. >> we are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president's dog? >> which is not true. >> keep running! facts catching up to me! >> the lifestyle is now supposed to be equivalent.
>> party so screwed up it is going to take a literal brain surgeon to help figure it out. >> we're doing basically the same thing the romans did before the collapse of the roman empire. >> president clinton has signed the bill that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. >> this is what's sleazy politicians do. >> do you feel that way about barack obama? >> of course i feel that way. if they cared about gays they would have been on board in the beginning. >> the compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. we want to be treated like everybody else. >> the republican party is in crisis. >> there's a time of reflection and soul searching. we'll let you know if they find one! who wants a piece of this? >> no one has flailed harder than unsolved jumble puzzle reince priebus. >> it was completely awesome. >> what was the cause of death? >> it's not just what you say, it's how we say it. >> the way i say it is like a drunk muppet. >> a full autopsy. it's the natural thing to do when you've got candidates this cold and stiff.
>> send palin's spokespeople -- it corked f ee eed -- worked fo cigarettes. >> let's go to our panel. ken vogel, the chief investigative reporter for politico. jonathan capehart, opinion writer for the "washington post" and msnbc contributor. welcome, gentlemen. ken, i'm going to start with you. reince priebus is just having a tough month. you heard jon stewart and coburn, you know, slamming the autopsy. as did national review. so my question is, is it reince or does he just have an impossible job here? >> yeah. i'd go with the latter. it's really difficult. you've got so many competing constituencies. and he's trying to sort of hold it all together and recommend ways to change it. well, the inability to sort of come together on mutually agreed upon tactical changes and
philosophical course correction is what kind of got them in this position in the first place. and i think if he is too heavy handed or the rnc is too heavy handed in trying to change either the tactics or the positions on -- which i think we're probably going to be headed for. >> oh, yeah. on that point, in the autopsy priebus mentioned out reach to gay voters at least four times. but then he calms mike huckabee no fan of same-sex marriage, a, quote, model for the gop on social issues. so which is it? >> that's right. you point out the cognitive disdense very, very well. i think the diagnosis of the problem is reasonably good which is that the party is an old party. it's monochromatic. but for a couple of kind of olive branches that it throws, the explicit we should concede on immigration, the more
implicit, we're losing the culture wars, we should be more friendly to gays generally, the core of the republican party seems to be going exactly the opposite direction. look what's happening in -- in virginia and pennsylvania on voter id laws. look what's happening in virginia, elsewhere on gerrymandering congressional districts. if there's one single problem i think the republican party has it is this gerrymandering of districts. because that is the thing that makes the republicans in the house and the senate worried about being primaried. that's what's driving them too far right to be a competitive party in national elections. >> julian, on that point about the voter id laws and some of the other shenanigans going on, this is yet another area of cognitive disdense. on the one hand you have priebus saying we want to reach out to minority voters. does he not get that we get it that you're trying to disenfranchise our votes at the same time? >> that's exactly the point. i think what priebus is saying is we want to begin to engage
african-americans and hispanics and other issues like economic issues and get away from the culture wars. on the other hand he's saying we want to make it harder for african-americans and hispanics to vote. the estimates are somewhere between 3% and 11% of voters could be kept away from the polls with these voter id laws. so it's very, very contradictory. to say on the one hand we want to reach out. then we don't want to expand their vote. we want to restrict their vote because we're worried -- >> they might not vote for us. >> every election it's becoming 2% to 3% browner and blacker. they don't have a competitive agenda to compete in that electora electorate. >> if i might very quickly, that's kind of where you see the philosophical and tactical colliding. on the philosophical hand they want to shift their tact to be able to appeal to minority voters. on the tactical hand they want to be able to win elections. i think in state legislatures this is one way, restrictive voter id measures and other
voting rights restrictionrestri a way they see they can diminish the vote of those that would likely vote against them and therefore stand a better chance of winning. they're really at odds there. >> for another dose, jonathan, karl rove apparently doesn't think that same-sex marriage is a problem for the gop. i want you to take a listen to what he said today. >> i think republicans on both sides of this issue have a healthy respect for -- for those who may not agree with them inside the party. at least that's been my experience thus far. >> really? >> no, they don't. >> karl rove's experience is that republicans have respect for both sides -- did i wake up in oz? >> you probably did. and i probably did, too. or i'm overly tired from being up so early. look, i don't know what he's talking about. the republican party for presidential cycles, for years, used gays and lesbians as wedges in presidential politics. >> one that he ran. >> right. state politics.
local politics. up until 2000 -- until the 2012 presidential election, we heard nothing about gays and lesbians. anything about marriage. anything about discrimination of any kind. the republican party, karl rove on down, has a huge problem. we've already talked about it. the demographics are moving away from them. not just that the american people have no problem increasingly with same-sex marriage, 58% according to "the washington post" poll, but according to that same poll, 51% of republicans ages 18 to 45 have no problem with same-sex marriage. so the republican party has a problem with people of color, as julian said, the country is getting blacker and browner every year. but they have a problem with their own party. where the future leaders of their party, the future voters in their party are moving away from the party. >> that's right. >> you know -- >> karl rove was, as i think jonathan was hinting at, karl
rove was the architect of the referendum in ohio in 2004, which was a bigoted referendum to potentially get republicans to the polls for fear of the gay marriage issue. >> that's right. i have a quick question. julian, i'm going to start with you. as a woman, why is it -- i feel like republicans huff and puff about the need to check your background when it comes to voting. they seem to want to get all up in my business as a woman. but they reject even the mention of a background check and say that the government should get out of our business when it comes to firearms. julian, explain this to me. >> hard to understand, but i think another area where the electorate is getting away from them as everyone has pointed out. we're talking about huge majorities on background checks and majorities even on assault weapons and clips. i think this is an issue where the republicans are counting on the intensity gap on gun issues. but i think that intensity gap is going to change as well. it's going to take some republicans losing their seats.
people that want to see a change in gun laws have to recognize we're at the beginning of the process, not the end of the process. these things take many years. as long as there's intensity on the other side we'll eventually get these laws passed. >> go ahead, ken. >> i think this speaks to what julian mentioned before, redistricting. creating these really safe, really monochromatic districts wherein, you know, there are some districts that have extreme intensity in favor of gun rights and would likely recoil at any lawmaker, whether it's a representative or a senator supporting even some of these background checks and measures that are seen as really incremental in a way that does make this sort of a trickier proposition, i think, than gay rights where you do see a trend kind of heading in one direction. not so much, i think, with gun rights. >> let jonathan get in here quickly. >> to add on to what ken is saying, this gerrymandering, redistricting, make these safe seats, the republican party is
delaying the inevitable. >> right. >> sooner or later, and probably sooner, they're going to -- republicans are going to be in districts that get away from them. the republican -- i just say in general, the american people are so far beyond the people they send to washington to legislate on their behalf. >> yep. >> you know what that is, jonathan? >> it reminds me of that long. "a change is gonna come." ken vogel, julian epstein and jonathan capehart, thank you so much. if you think the cause of gun safety is lost, don't. advocates are uniting for a day of action. >> so please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply i regret and apologize for the circumstances that led to my resignation from the cia and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters. what can i get you?
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efforts to increase support for legislation aimed at reducing gun violence will get a boost tomorrow. in addition to the tv ads, they've already announced mayors against illegal guns, the group sponsored by mayor mike bloomberg, has organized a national day of action. it features over 100 events in conjunction with the president's outside group organizing for action. americans for responsible solutions led by former congresswoman gabby giffords and her husband mark kelly will also participate. joining us now is jonathan alter, columnist for bloomberg view. jonathan -- >> thank you. >> thanks for being here. vice president biden spoke on a conference call earlier today in support of what's happening tomorrow. and he was explaining why background checks are so important. let's take a listen. >> we've known for years, experts have known for years that one of the most productive things we can do to lessen gun violence in america is have universal background checks. they're the chief priority of
gun safety groups and for very good reasons. 40% of the guns now purchased in america don't require a background check. >> so there's joe biden saying that background checks are a chief priority for reducing gun violence. we've heard that before. yet the future of senator chuck schumer's bill to expand background checks seems to be in doubt. so what does that tell you about what's going on here? >> well, i don't think that's quite as depressing as it might look superficially. because essentially what's happening is the debate's being narrowed. so dianne feinstein's assault weapons ban isn't going anywhere. the votes just aren't there for that. but there are a lot of votes for these background checks. principally because this was the nra's position only about ten years ago. so what the nra has done is they now are trying to go to the bear caves and say, we cannot have background checks. which is unbelievably hypocrite
cal since they were the ones who advocated for this as an alternative to the waiting periods back in the '90s when they would have these debates. >> to that point, the argument that you see la pierre and the nra making, well, criminals aren't going to subject themselves to a background check. which is just completely disenjdise disingenuous to why you would do background checks. >> they're liars on everything. there are different interest groups in washington. some of them you can disagree with and do so without being disagreeab disagreeable. they're not evil just because they're on the other side of an issue. there's, you know, a couple out of the hundreds of interest groups where you can say, these people are really scummy. and i think that can be said about the nra. but the interesting thing is, they don't have as much power as people think. >> right. >> they have 4 million members. and of those 4 million, a lot of
them are actually quite responsible gun owners who are in favor of common sense gun control. let's say a quarter of them, a million, are the hard core people who will lie and say anything in order to advance their position. that's compared to 20 million who are on the organizing for action obama lists. so the nra is like a bully. a bully must be taken on, confronted. this is what mayor bloomberg is doing. and we're going to see over the next several months what happens when people stop cowering in front of the nra, which has been what's gone on for the last 20 years, and start taking on and bashing the nra, which is what needs to happen now. >> as we talked about at the top, you've got these three groups aligning hopefully to create a counterweight. we mentioned gabby giffords and her group video that just came in from her group that shows that you need only five minutes to complete a background check. here she is with her husband. let's take a listen.
>> there. look at that. >> okay. >> what do you think? want to go out and shoot it sometime? >> yes. good stuff. >> very easy to do. took five minutes. >> five minutes. >> that's what we're here to do. make sure everybody has to get a background check to try to get a gun. >> the other gun he was trying to buy the gun owner denied him. in that video it's kind of startling. i've heard them talk about the fact that they are, as you talk, responsible gun owners. they own guns. they believe in the second amendment. there's something about seeing them, you know, talking about how easy it is to get a background check that just makes you think, why are we fighting about this? >> we're fighting about it because the nra -- the nra is determined to win at all costs. and they believe that, you know, any concession is a slippery slope to more gun laws. but this is a terrific video.
and the reason is that the -- the efforts of those who are trying to -- i don't want to call it gun control. because -- the movement for gun safety, the movement against gun violence, is maturing. and is turning into something that is more effective. and this video is an example of that. there's a tendency sometimes on the part of liberal supporters of gun control to, you know, make it seem as if owning a weapon is somehow evil. >> right. >> and to move beyond that, to say, no, we can have common sense gun safety and that gun owners can sign on to this is very important. and that video advances that. >> i completely agree. it brings more people into our cause rather than alienating those who might want to be with us. >> exactly sf lyexactly. >> thank you, jonathan alter. on a related note, aurora movie theater suspect james holmes offered a guilty plea in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. it's unclear whether prosecutors
will accept the deal. if they wish to seek the death penalty holmes could still attempt an insanity defense. next, the new woman in the president's life. stay with us. i've always kept my eye on her... but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain...
an historic appointment this afternoon with president obama naming the first woman to lead the united states secret service. julia pearson was sworn in just this afternoon. a 30-year veteran of the secret service, she takes over after a scandal involving agents and prostitutes in colombia. today the president and vice president expressed their full confidence in her. >> this person now probably has more control over our lives than anyone else. kpe except for our spouses. and i couldn't be placing our lives in better hands than julia's. >> and my agents are excited as heck that you picked her. >> nbc's kristen welker joins us
now from the white house. are you excited as heck, kristen? a female picked to lead the secret service. is there a hope, perhaps, that hiring a woman may change the sort of macho culture that some people think actually led to the prostitution scandal? >> reporter: well, karen, good afternoon. i think that that is certainly going to be one of her greatest challenges. to try to change the perception that this agency is still mired in scandal. and to really turn the page. this agency really has suffered one of its most difficult years. so she takes the helm at a pivotal moment. some of her critics say she's an insider, so therefore may not be the best person to come in and shake things up. you heard the president, vice president express their full confidence in her. and i've been talking to some of her colleagues, current and former, who say she's absolutely the right person for the job. as you mentioned, she has 30 years' service with the secret service. she has worked with this agency inside and out. she's been in the field.
she's also served behind the scenes, risen up through the ranks, has had a number of leadership positions. but, of course, today is historic. it's interesting, if you look back at her history, even when she was in college she worked for the police department and then joined the secret service right out of college as an agent. she said this is something that she's really always wanted to do. so those who support her say she's absolutely the right person at the right time. >> switching gears here, now the president also spoke with two spanish language tv networks today. is this part of his renewed push for immigration reform? >> reporter: it is. and he's sort of reiterating and keeping the pressure on congress to come up with a plan for immigration reform. this is something that bipartisan group of eight that's been working on immigration reform has said that they are hoping to unveil during the week of april 8th. so the president really trying to keep the pressure on them to do that. at the same time, it's a bit of a delicate dance for the president. he doesn't want to insert himself too much into the process. he doesn't want to slow it down. because that is the risk in this
situation. i can tell you that lawmakers who are working on this say that they are getting close, but there are still a few sticking points. of course, they don't have a deal until everything is agreed upon. >> very quickly before i let you go, we just learned the president is going to meet with some republicans for dinner on april 10th. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: the president's going to be discussing his legislative agenda during that meeting. a continuation of his charm offensive he started before he left for israel. i can tell you during those first meetings that he had with lawmakers prior to his foreign trip, they expressed a desire to meet with him again. the question is what will actually get resolved. so far we haven't really seen any tangibles come out of these meetings. of course, that is ultimately the goal, that there will be some progress on deficit reduction and other legislative issues. >> all right. kristen welker, thanks so much. and we'll be right back. [ woman ] when you own your own business,
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